Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Apostles: A Fearless Preacher and Martyr ~ Peter


Peter

He was a simple fisherman, yet a complicated man.

His relationship with Christ was intriguing from the very beginning when he was told to drop his net, leave his boat on shore, and follow the Lord.

Though Peter's faith was genuine, it faltered when he was confronted with uncertainty and fear.

It seemed as if Peter had no faith at all when a great storm whirled their boat at sea, and the Lord appeared to be sleeping. 
 
Peter was an elder man, and demonstrated respect and humility.

When the Lord asked of His disciples,


"Who do you say I am?", it was Peter who confessed his faith.

But whom say ye that I am?,  
And Simon Peter answered and said, 
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, 
Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: 
for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, 
but my Father which is in heaven.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, 
and upon this rock I will build my church; 
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
And I will give unto thee 
the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
Peter seemed protective of the Lord in circumstances, though unnecessarily.

On one occasion, he took the Lord aside and began to rebuke Him for telling the disciples of His future suffering and death in Jerusalem.

Christ responded harshly to Peter:

From that time began Jesus to show unto His disciples, 
that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things 
of the elders and chief priests and scribes, 
and be killed, and the third day be raised up.

And Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, 
Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall never be unto Thee.

But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: 
thou art a stumbling-block unto me: 
for thou mindest not the things of God, 
but the things of men.

Then said Jesus unto His disciples,
If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, 
and take up his cross, and follow me.

When Christ announced his betrayal to His disciples just prior to His arrest, He also told them they would scatter, and one would even deny Him.  

Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, 
I will never fall away.”  

Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, 
before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”

Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, 
I will not deny you!”
Later that evening...

Peter Denies Christ

  And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus,
“Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”
And he went out and wept bitterly.

It was Peter, along with John, who was the first of the men to verify that Christ's tomb was indeed empty.  He came to it forewarned by the women. Both of them ran to it.  Peter was perhaps twice as old as John, and both were good friends: their common love for Christ was the bond uniting them. 

During the forty days between Christ's resurrection and His Ascension, He spent time with His disciples.  The account of His intimate conversation with Peter is recorded in John, and foretells Peter's death by crucifixion:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”
Peter devoted his life, with the other apostles and disciples, following Christ's command, The Great Commission, until his martyrdom: death by crucifixion.  He chose to be crucified upside down, to humble himself and to glorify God. 


Peter Crucified



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